Earth City medical marijuana company trades one dispensary license for another –

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A strain of marijuana called Power Plant is photographed on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at the University City home of a grower who is cultivating in his basement legally for personal use. Photo by Christian Gooden,

Christian Gooden

JEFFERSON CITY — State medical marijuana regulators said Tuesday they settled a dispute with Earth City-based BeLeaf Medical by allowing the company to surrender one of its dispensary licenses in exchange for another.

The Department of Health and Senior Services, which regulates the medical marijuana program, said BeLeaf would give up a license it won to open a dispensary on Lafayette Avenue in St. Louis in exchange for a license to open a dispensary on Manchester Avenue in the city.

The state limited dispensary licenses to 24 in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts. Both BeLeaf applications ranked in the top 24 in the congressional district that covers St. Louis, but the Manchester location didn’t win a license.

Hundreds of medical marijuana business applicants filed appeals with the state Administrative Hearing Commission after the state rejected their applications.

Jilted applicants have said the state’s limits on marijuana licenses would impede patient access, violating the 2018 constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana. Applicants also faulted the state’s scoring system in their appeals.

Officials have stuck by their strict limits on business licenses, saying they don’t want product diverted to the black market.

The health department, in a news release, indicated the Tuesday settlement wasn’t a sign of more settlements to come — at least if a settlement would result in more licenses being issued.

Because BeLeaf traded one license for another, the

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